Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hunan Restaurant

Chinese restaurants are abundant in this country. Good Chinese restaurants are not as easy to find. Great Chinese restaurants are so rare that I can think of only a handful. The one Chinese restaurant you all must make a special trip to go to is not on The Strip. It's not even on Spring Mountain. It's in little ol' Fresno, California, and it's called Hunan.

The chef there is world class. I'm not just using that as a nice little phrase to denote that I enjoy his food. No, Chef Liu has represented China in numerous cooking competitions and even has some of his medals, including a silver from a little competition known as Bocuse d'Or, displayed on the wall of this unpretentious space in an older strip mall in North Fresno.

The food at other Chinese places may evoke a "Yummy" or an "Mmmm" from time to time, but I challenge any city in this fair nation to show me a Chinese restaurant that makes you willing to make a six hour drive once a week to have the privilege of eating its food. Las Vegas doesn't have it, although we do have a number of worthwhile stops if you do happen to be in town.

I would put this place on the level of a Lotus of Siam with its bargain prices and amazing food, but the truth is, Hunan has no equal. Dollar for dollar, no matter the cuisine or the location, in this country, Hunan is the best. It's just that good. The service is friendly and prompt, and the food never falls short of my high expectations.

If you have a last meal coming up, I recommend the Butter Cream Prawns with Strawberries. A mixture of sweet and savory few can balance so perfectly. I don't care where you are in the country, fly to Fresno and I'll have my dad pick you up at the airport and take you to Hunan, it'll be cheaper than a trip to China, but with all the flavor.

Brian William Waddell is a foodie, beer geek, and author. His numerous blog posts range from food to politics. He also has a book of poetry, Fractured Prose, available here, and is ready to publish his second poetic endeavor.

Hunan on Urbanspoon

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